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THE CHURCH


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BOOKS BY BOB MUMFORD AND JACK TAYLOR THE KINGDOM BOOKS BY BOB MUMFORD AGAPE ROAD

AVAILABLE FROM DESTINY IMAGE PUBLISHERS


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THE CHURCH: THE DIVINE IDEAL THE ORIGINAL CLASSIC BY GEORGE DANA BOARDMAN

COMPILED BY BOB MUMFORD AND JACK TAYLOR


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© Copyright 2008 – Compiled by Bob Mumford and Jack Taylor All rights reserved. This book is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. This book may not be copied or reprinted for commercial gain or profit. The use of short quotations or occasional page copying for personal or group study is permitted and encouraged. Permission will be granted upon request. Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the King James Version and other versions and sources that the original author referenced. Please note that Destiny Image’s publishing style capitalizes certain pronouns in Scripture that refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may differ from some publishers’ styles. Take note that the name satan and related names are not capitalized. We choose not to acknowledge him, even to the point of violating grammatical rules. DESTINY IMAGE® PUBLISHERS, INC. P.O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310 “Speaking to the Purposes of God for this Generation and for the Generations to Come.” This book and all other Destiny Image, Revival Press, Mercy Place, Fresh Bread, Destiny Image Fiction, and Treasure House books are available at Christian bookstores and distributors worldwide. For a U.S. bookstore nearest you, call 1-800-722-6774. For more information on foreign distributors, call 717-532-3040. Reach us on the Internet: www.destinyimage.com. ISBN 10: 0-7684-2659-6 ISBN 13: 978-0-7684-2659-5 For Worldwide Distribution, Printed in the U.S.A. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 / 12 11 10 09 08


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GEORGE DANA BOARDMAN, D. D., LL.D. AUTHOR OF “STUDIES IN THE C R E A M WEEK,” “STUDIES IN THE MODEL PRAYER,” “‘EPIPHANIES OF THE RISEN LORD,” “THE DIVINE MAN,” “UNIVERSITY LECTURES ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS,” “THE PROBLEM OF JESUS,” “CORONATION OF LOVE,” “THE KINGDOM,” ETC. NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS COPYRIGHT 1901 NORWOOD PRESS J. S. CUSHING & CO. BERWICK & SMITH NORWOOD, MASS. U.S.A.


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TO THE LORD OF THE ECCLESIA THESE STUDIES IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH ARE REVERENTLY OFFERED


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PREFATORY NOTE

HE writer has already given to the public his studies in the Christian Basileia in a volume entitled “The Kingdom.” He now gives to the public his studies in the Christian Ecclesia in a complemental volume entitled “The Church.”

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In treating of the Church, the writer presents his subject under three chief aspects: first, the Church as a Primitive Society; secondly, the Church as a Modern Problem; thirdly, the Church as a Divine Ideal. In discussing the Church as a Primitive Society, the author writes solely from the standpoint of the exegete; he distinctly disclaims writing from the standpoint of the ecclesiastical historian. All he asks is the careful study of the cited Scriptures themselves. May the Lord of the Kingdom bless this book to the upbuilding of his Church. G. D. B. Philadelphia January 1 1901


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Meet the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 PART FIRST

The Church as a Primitive Society . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Evolution of the Primitive Church . . . . . . . . . . . .19

PART SECOND The Church as a Modern Problem . . . . . . . . . . . .59 CHAPTER I

Mission of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

CHAPTER II

Modern Problem of Church Adjustments . . . . . .71

CHAPTER III

Modern Problem of Church Membership . . . . . .75

CHAPTER IV

Modern Problem of Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

CHAPTER V

Modern Problem of the Lord’s Supper . . . . . . . . .93

CHAPTER VI

Modern Problem of Church Creeds . . . . . . . . . .111

CHAPTER VII

Modern Problem of Church Worship . . . . . . . .125

CHAPTER VIII Modern Problem of Church Polity . . . . . . . . . . .147 CHAPTER IX

Modern Problem of Lay Missionaries . . . . . . . .153

CHAPTER X

Modern Problem of Church Unification . . . . . .159


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CHAPTER XI

Picture of the Maturing Church . . . . . . . . . . . . .175

PART THIRD

The Church as a Divine Ideal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .179

CHAPTER I

Various Meanings of the Word “Church” . . . . . .181

CHAPTER II

Distinguish between “a Church” and “the Church” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .183

CHAPTER III

The Church of the King’s Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . .189

CHAPTER IV

The Church of God’s Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199

CHAPTER V

The Church of Christ’s Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209

CHAPTER VI

The Church of the King’s Bride . . . . . . . . . . . . . .219

CHAPTER VII

The Church of New Jerusalem . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223

APPENDIX

List of New Testament Scriptures in Which the Word “Ecclesia” (As a Religious Term) Occurs . .229


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MEET THE AUTHOR: GEORGE DANA BOARDMAN

EORGE Dana Boardman, called “the younger” was born in Burma in 1828 to George and Sarah Boardman. The elder Boardman, an associate of Adoniram Judson, died in 1831, leaving Sarah Boardman a widow and young George fatherless. Ann Judson’s death in 1826 left Adoniram Judson a widower. In 1834, when young George Boardman was six years of age, Adoniram Judson married Sarah Boardman making Boardman his step-son.

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Young George returned to America as a boy and later attended Brown University. He pastored the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1864 to 1894. He was president of the American Baptist Missionary Union and Christian Arbitration and Peace Society. His most important production is a monograph, Titles of Wednesday Evening Lectures, delivered between 1865 and 1880 and comprises a complete exegesis of the Bible. These books, simply entitled The Kingdom, published in 1899 and The Church, 1901, are being newly released in 2008 with the anticipation of wide readership.

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It is felt that they are without equal in exegetical quality and brilliant writing style. It will be noticed that some words are used that are no longer common in modern usage. The reader will surely acknowledge that, despite some variation in how the author perceives certain issues that are discussed rather heatedly today, he deals with the subjects fairly and without rancor. Though surprisingly little is known about George Dana Boardman, his pastoral record along with his faithfulness to biblical exegesis and his writing skills revealed in these two volumes on the subjects of the Church and the Kingdom, set him apart as a quite remarkable figure in the nineteenth century. We are satisfyingly certain that these two volumes on the Church and the Kingdom could and should identify George Dana Boardman as an equally remarkable figure in the twenty-first century.

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INTRODUCTION

OU are holding in your hand a book that has touched three centuries, the fading years of the nineteenth, the entirety of the twentieth and the early years of the twenty-first. We fully expect it to be a standard for the study of the Church for the remainder of this century and beyond. It is both desperately needed and happily welcomed.

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It is part of a tandem release along with a volume by the same author simply entitled The Kingdom. Both books were rediscovered by Bob Mumford and Jack Taylor in their passionate quest for a solidly biblical definition and implementation of the Eternal Kingdom of God. It is recommended that you read the book, The Kingdom, first. This is primarily because it was written first. The reasons will be obvious before you finish it. Both Bob and Jack believe a viable and balanced understanding of the Church will come only when there is a workable understanding of the Kingdom of God. Bob and Jack strongly believe that most of the glaring deficiencies and lamentable weaknesses of the Western Church exist because of a loss of Kingdom mentality among believers everywhere. The Church’s authentic identity, central message, total mission and, especially its authority and power to change the culture in which it has been planted are all derived from its relationship to the Kingdom. Not until the Gospel of the Kingdom is clarified, believed and widely declared will the Church understand and fulfill her role in God’s redemptive plan.

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The struggle to make the Church relevant to today’s culture seems already to be falling short of its intended goals as vain attempts are made to refine and reshape it to fit its complex and demanding culture. The relevance of the Church has never been discovered in its surrounding culture and never will be. Jesus never sought to be relevant, He just lived, taught and expressed in both life and work the government of God wherever He went. You will enjoy reading this book with greater interest after you have read The Kingdom. Then you will experience the study of the Church with greater insight. This book, The Church, was promised in the author’s book on the Kingdom and a search began for it with fear that Boardman may not have lived to write it. Early in 2007, to the delight of both Bob and Jack, it was discovered that he had lived to write the book. It was first published in 1901. When a copy was acquired it became immediately apparent to both of them that the same exegetical skills and brilliant writing style characterized this volume as were obvious in The Kingdom. Almost immediately it was their conviction that both books were worthy of publishing. These two books are seen by Bob and Jack as the most splendid exegetical works on both subjects, the Kingdom and the Church. They believe that the readers will be virtually overwhelmed with the culturally uncluttered and biblically accurate insights into the King, His Kingdom and the Church. We (Bob and Jack) are grateful to the folks at Destiny Image for their rapid agreement to offer these two works for release in 2008 and for joining us in the prayer that they will have a long and fruitful life. —Bob Mumford, Cookeville, Tennessee —Jack Taylor, Melbourne, Florida

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PART FIRST

THE CHURCH AS A PRIMTIVE SOCIETY

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EVOLUTION OF THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH

E talk a great deal about “The Primitive Church.” But what was this “primitive church?” When was it organized? Who organized it? What was its polity? How long was that polity binding? Is the “primitive church” our divine model today?

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Beware of Preconceptions. In answering these and similar questions we must try, first of all, to rid ourselves so far as possible of preconceptions. We must remember at the very outset that our King Himself while on earth never commanded His followers to “organize a church”; never even hinted any model of a church as an ecclesiastical institution. But we are so accustomed to think of the church as a society divinely organized from the very beginning—our conceptions concerning its organization and polity are so clear and positive—that it is hard for us to realize that there was no organized church at all in our King’s own day; that He Himself used the word “church” but three times, referring in each case to the “church” as a spiritual company rather than as an ecclesiastical organization; in short, that the term “church” does not occur in the primitive chronicles till a considerable time after the day of Pentecost. True, we read in the second chapter of the book of Acts that:

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The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:47 Authorized Version). But the word “church” does not occur in the original text at all. According to the oldest manuscripts, the true text reads: The Lord added together daily those who were being saved. In fact, we do not meet with a genuine instance of the word “church” till we reach the tragic account of the death of Ananias and Sapphira: Great fear came on the whole church, and on all that heard these things (Acts 5:11). And even here we hardly know how much this word “church” meant to the writer; whether, for instance, it meant a completely equipped ecclesiastical organization, or only the general community of primitive Christians. In studying, then, the rise of the church as a human organization, it is manifestly our duty first of all to exercise the historic imagination, forgetting the present with its definite convictions, and going back to that pristine period when there was no ecclesiastical organization whatever, neither “church” nor “bishop,” neither creed nor polity. Primitive Expectation of the King’s Speedy Return. Among the many reasons which occasioned the slow growth of the church as an ecclesiastical organization was the primitive expectation of the King’s immediate return in glory. This expectation, as the writer has set forth in his previous volume entitled The Kingdom, was one of the characteristic traits of the primitive Christians, tingeing with a celestial hue their whole theology and behavior; all their thoughts, beliefs, affections, desires, prayers, plans, deeds, life itself. Accordingly, while this

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intense expectation lasted, it is reasonable to suppose that the primitive Christians felt no special necessity for organizing permanent ecclesiastical institutions; their King might return in triumph at any moment, and His personal presence would render these institutions needless. The “Church� a Child of Circumstances. But as time swept on, and the King did not return, and the future took on a more sober aspect, and practical questions of administration and finance began to press, the primitive Christians felt the necessity of providing permanent methods growing more and more imperative. In other words, the Kingdom of God, or Christ’s new society, was a thing of life; and therefore, like all living things: a thing of growth, tending to organization. In still other words, the church, as an ecclesiastical or human institution, grew out of circumstances. It was born of the instincts of loyalty, fellowship, self-defence, propagation, life. Not that the primitive Christians resorted to sudden legislation and irreversible decrees. The apostolic period was formative, instinctively adjusting itself to varying incidents of locality, race temperament, custom, emergency, etc. Being a living thing, the church instinctively organized itself. Accordingly, its organization was largely unconscious. It was a growth rather than a graft; an inner self-adjustment to the without rather than an outer legislation for the within. Thus it came to pass in the course of time that the citizens of the divine Basileia organized themselves into a human ecclesia; the church as an ecclesiastical organization becoming, so to speak, the earthly aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven. We have no elaborate record of these unfoldings; only occasional hints more or less suggestive. How slight most of these hints are is shown by the immense diversity of ecclesiastical constructions which have been put on them, culminating in the enormously various sects and sub-sects of modem Christendom.

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Evolution of the Primitive Church. Of course, I cannot go into minute details of the evolution of the primitive church. Enough that we recall in a cursory manner the outlines of the story in its unfoldings as indicated in the Acts of the Apostles. The Waiting Brotherhood. First, there is the picture of the waiting brotherhood. Of this we have two accounts, both by the evangelist Luke: They, having worshipped Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and were continually in the temple, blessing God (Luke 24:52-53).

Then returned they to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey. And when they came in, they went up into the upper room, where were abiding both Peter and John, and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer, with (certain) women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:12-14). Combining these two accounts, we learn, first, that the disciples, although converted from Mosaism to Christianity, still continued loyal to the liturgy of their fathers, blessing God continually in the temple. We learn, secondly, that although they continued to worship God publicly in the temple, yet they also continued to worship God privately in the upper room. But not the slightest hint is given that these primitive disciples had organized themselves into a “church”; indeed, the word “church” is not mentioned. Appointment of Matthias. Next comes the story of the appointment of Matthias to fill the vacancy in the apostolic band occasioned

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by the treachery of Judas (Acts 1:15-26). From this story we learn that Peter inaugurated the movement; that the number of disciples present was about a hundred and twenty; that the qualifications for an apostle were that he should have been an intimate companion of the Lord Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry to the day of His ascension; that he should be able to testify to the fact of Christ’s resurrection; that two of the brethren were put in nomination—Joseph and Matthias; that prayer was offered to the Omniscient for wisdom to choose between the two candidates; that it was determined to refer the choice to the decision of lots; that the lot fell on Matthias; that he was accordingly numbered with the eleven apostles. But the story does not tell us whether the action was in any strict sense ecclesiastical; whether the mode was Apostolic, Congregational, Presbyterian, or Episcopal; indeed, whether there was any “church” at all; the word “church” is not mentioned. Day of Pentecost. Now comes the story of the day of Pentecost, ending with the effect of Peter’s pentecostal testimony: They then that welcomed his word were baptized; and there were added on that day about three thousand souls (Acts 2:41). Observe: no mention has yet been made of any “church,” no hint suggested of anything ecclesiastical. All is still incipient and informal. The Pentecostal Community. Now emerges a picture of the primitive Christian society in Jerusalem,—a picture so beautiful in its simplicity and grace that it must be presented in full: And they were constantly attending on the teaching of the apostles, and the distribution, the breaking of bread, and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were

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together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. And daily attending with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at their homes, they partook of food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising Cod, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added together daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47). Such is a picture of the daily life of the primitive Christian community as it gradually unfolded itself into a definite ecclesiastical organization, which shall hereafter become known as the “church in Jerusalem.” How charming the simplicity of that pristine life! How reverent its worship! How blithesome its spirit! How loving its brotherhood! No wonder that the number of Christ’s disciples grew apace. Yet the term “church” does not occur in the narrative. Primitive Community of Goods. Passing over the accounts of the healing of the lame man by Peter and John, their arraignment before the Sanhedrin, and their subsequent release, we come to another beautiful picture of the pentecostal brotherhood, setting forth more in detail the primitive community of goods: And the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and no one said that aught of the things which he had was his own, but they had all things common…. For there was no one among them that was in want; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things sold, and laid them at the feet of the apostles; and distribution was made to each one, according as he had need. And Joseph, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is interpreted, Son of exhortation), a Levite, born in Cyprus, having a field sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the feet of the apostles (Acts 4:32-37).

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There is no indication that this community of goods was the result of any ecclesiastical action, or vote of any church; indeed, the word “church” does not occur in the narrative. This spirit of the primitive brotherhood or communism was evidently the paradisal exuberance of the pentecostal baptism and joy and expectation of their King’s immediate, triumphant return. Accordingly, this fraternal generosity was spontaneous, in no sense regulative or ecclesiastical. First Instance in Acts of the Word “Church?” Now falls the first shadow on the primitive Christian brotherhood; it is the story of the sacrilegious lie of Ananias and Sapphira, and their tragic punishment (Acts 5:1-10). Tragical as the story is, its chief importance for us, so far as the subject in hand is concerned, lies in the fact that this dark story records the first genuine instance in the book of Acts of the word “church”: And great fear came on the whole church, and on all that heard these things (Acts 5:11). And even here we hardly know how much this word “church,” as used at that time, meant; whether, for instance, it meant a completely equipped ecclesiastical organization, or only the general company of primitive Christians. Of course, it is natural to infer that there was by this time some kind of organized “church.” But human inference is not divine Scripture. Appointment of the Seven. And now we come to an important event in the evolution of the primitive “church”; it is the appointment of the seven almoners to serve the Christian community in Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-6.) The primitive Christian society consisted of two classes of Jews: first, Hebrew Jews, or Jews born in Palestine and speaking the Palestinian language; and, secondly, Hellenistic Jews, or Jews born in

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foreign lands and speaking Greek, but living in Jerusalem; these latter were called “Grecian Jews.” As the number of Christian converts grew, the Grecian Jews began to murmur against the Palestinian Jews, because the widows of the former were neglected in the daily distribution of the charities. It is to be feared that there was some ground for the complaint, for it was perfectly natural that the Palestinian Jews should feel that the widows born in their own land had prior claims to those born in foreign countries; let us hope that the Grecian Jews somewhat exaggerated the neglect of the Hebrew Jews in caring for the Grecian widows. However this may have been, the twelve apostles, as the natural representatives and leaders of the primitive Christian community, summoned the multitude of the disciples (the word “church” does not occur in the narrative), and said to them substantially: Brothers, we fear that there is ground for this complaint of our Grecian friends, and their case should be attended to promptly. But this rapid growth of our community, blessed as it is, has brought with it so many new cares and responsibilities that we cannot think it right I that we should turn aside from proclaiming the glad tidings, in order to serve in these temporalities, however charitable. The time has come for some division of labor. Accordingly, we recommend that you take a survey of our brotherhood, and choose from among them seven (‘seven’ is our sacred number) brethren of established reputation, spiritually minded, sagacious; and we will appoint them over this service of caring for our unfortunate sisters. Meanwhile we apostles will give ourselves wholly to the service of public worship and proclamation of the good news. This recommendation met with the hearty approval of the entire community. They did not insist on the duty of “maintaining glorious traditions”; they did not “protest against introducing new-fangled

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notions.” They acted sensibly, wisely adjusting themselves to the new necessities. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and having prayed, they laid their hands on them (Acts 6:5-6). Of these seven, none but Stephen and Philip became historic characters; it was then as it is now, the majority of God’s saints are anonymous. Thus the “deaconship” was born of emergency. Yet it afterward proved to be a permanent institution. The poor we have always with us, and whenever we wish we can do good to them. When Valerian about the year 258 commanded Laurentius the martyr to surrender the treasures of the church, the latter sent for the poor members of the congregation, and, presenting them to the magistrates, exclaimed, “These are the church’s true treasures!” As long as there is poverty, so long some kind of deaconship will be a necessity. It is pleasant to know that in this matter we have a New Testament precedent. The church as an ecclesiastical organization is a flexible institution. It did not grow, it could not grow, in any iron mould. Christianity knows no ecclesiastical “finality.” The “church” as an organization was made for man, not man for the “church.” Growth of Christianity. Now we have a picture of the wonderful growth of the new community: And the word of God grew; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great multitude of the priests were obeying the faith (Acts 6:7).

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Observe again; the word “church” is not mentioned in this statement; the primitive company is still described as being simply “disciples.” Story of Stephen. Now follows the pathetic story of the wise, eloquent, spiritual Stephen, whose powerful testimony to the new King ended in his own brave martyrdom. His brilliant advocacy of the new Faith aroused the hostility of the unbelieving Jews, especially those who belonged to certain synagogues. Unable to resist the wisdom and the spirituality with which Stephen spoke, these angered champions of antiquity resorted to the usual practice of defeated disputants: They suborned men, who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes; and coming upon him, they seized him, and brought him to the Sanhedrin, and set up false witnesses, who said, This man ceases not to speak words against this holy place and the law. For we have heard him say, that this Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us (Acts 6:11-14). It was the ever old, ever new, cry of the apostles of obsoletism, “The fathers were perfect; the past is divine; to advance is sacrilegious innovation; down with these impious revolutionists!” But Stephen’s defence was so masterly that it riveted the gaze of his persecutors, “All that sat in the Sanhedrin, looking intently on him, saw his face as it were an angel’s face.” But, as in the course of his defence, Stephen charged his auditors with being betrayers and murderers of the Righteous One, they were cut to their hearts, and gnashed their teeth against him, and rushed on him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and, laying down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul, they stoned Stephen; and he fell asleep. And Saul was well

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pleased with his death. Observe: in all this long, detailed account of the arraignment and defence and martyrdom of Stephen (see Acts 6:815; 7:1-60), although it was one of the turning-points of Christianity, the word “church” is mentioned only once: This is he who was in the church in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai (Acts 7:38). Even here the word “church” is manifestly a misnomer. “The church in the wilderness” was not a church in the Christian sense of the term; it was the congregation or people of Israel assembled in the wilderness of Sinai: This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai (Acts 7:38). “The Church which was in Jerusalem.” And now we come to the following statement: There arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). The statement is especially interesting because it is the second genuine mention of the word “church” as a Christian organization in the book of Acts. And even here, although a year or two had passed since the ascension of the King, we do not know how far “the church in Jerusalem” was organized; whether, for instance, it had formulated its creed, or prescribed its precise conditions of entrance, or outlined its polity, or elected its pastor or bishop. No doubt it had done less or more of these things; but we have no record of specific transactions. All we know thus far about the primitive church as an ecclesiastical

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institution is simply this; it was called, “The church which was in Jerusalem.” The Spreading Church. But the time has come for the church which was in Jerusalem to enlarge its boundaries; and persecution is the enlarger: There arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and all were scattered abroad through the regions of Judaea and Samaria….Saul laid waste the church, entering house after house, and dragging away both men and women, committed them to prison. They therefore that were scattered abroad went about preaching the word (Acts 8:1,3-4). Thus Saul’s persecution of the Christians marks an important epoch in the history of the primitive church. Well might the eloquent Tertullian, in his famous defence of the Christians, when persecuted under the reign of Septimius Severus, write to the Rulers of the Roman Empire: The oftener we are mown down by you, the more we grow; the blood of Christians is seed. —TERTULLIAN’S Apologeticus, c. 50. Baptism of the Ethiopian. Passing over the stories of Philip, Peter, and John in Samaria, in which, be it observed, the word “church” is not mentioned, we come to the story of the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch (see Acts 8:26-40). The narrative, intensely interesting throughout, is particularly significant because of the light it sheds on the question of the primitive baptism. We see, for instance, that Philip baptized this Ethiopian solely on the ground that the latter believed that the Hero of the fifty-third of Isaiah was none other than Jesus the Nazarene; there is no evidence that

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Philip catechized the traveller as to the signs of his having “experienced religion”; he did not admit him on “probation”; he did not submit the case to any “session”; he did not baptize the stranger “into the fellowship of any church”: Philip simply announced to the Ethiopian the good news that Jesus was the sufferer of Isaiah’s famous Scripture; as soon as they reached water, and the eunuch expressed a desire to be baptized, Philip baptized him into the fellowship of the Kingdom of God. Again, we see that baptism, at least in those primitive days, meant immersion; both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and came up out of the water: an inconvenience wholly needless, if baptism meant only affusion; but a blessed necessity, if baptism meant immersion and emersion. Observe again: the word “church” is not mentioned in all this story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Thus did persecution scatter abroad the church which was in Jerusalem, causing her to enlarge the place of her tent, to stretch forth the curtains of her habitations, to lengthen her cords, and at the same time to strengthen her stakes, thus making desolate cities to be inhabited. Conversion of Saul. Hitherto, however, the good news of the Kingdom had been proclaimed only to Jews, and to Samaritans who were semi-Jews living in Palestine; even the Eunuch was a Jewish proselyte, having come up from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship according to the Levitical ritual. But the time has now come for the advent of a cosmopolitan hero who shall proclaim the evangel of the Kingdom to non-Jews as well as to Jews, establishing Christian churches throughout the Roman Empire. That cosmopolitan hero is none other than the bitter Pharisee who had been the church’s fiercest persecutor, Saul of Tarsus. We are all familiar with the story of that wonderful conversion. Remarkable as it is in itself, it is chiefly remarkable for its tremendous influence in developing the idea of the church as a human

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organization. Yet, strange as it may seem, in the three detailed accounts of Saul’s memorable conversion (see Acts 9:1-30; 22:1-21; 26:1-23) the word “church” is not once mentioned. Consolidation of the Church. Observe now that one of the results following the conversion of Saul was the consolidation of the Christian communities scattered through Palestine. There is a significant statement in the book of Acts which, according to the oldest Greek text, speaks of these separate Christian communities, not as “churches,” but as “the church”: So the church, throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, had peace, being built up, and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, was multiplied (Acts 9:31). This expression, “the church,” is significant as already indicating an enlargement of the meaning of the term. Hitherto, it had meant a local congregation or municipal company: “The church which was in Jerusalem.” In the passage before us it has come to mean a territorial society: “The church, throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria.” Thus the church as an organized society has taken an onward step, emancipating herself from the limits of mere Locality. It justifies in a manner such modern expressions as “The Christian Church,” “The Greek Church,” “The Church of England,” “The Presbyterian Church,” “The Baptist Church.” Peter and Cornelius. Passing over the story of Peter’s healing of Aeneas at Lydda, and also the story of his resuscitation of Dorcas at Joppa, we come to the story of his welcome of the Roman Cornelius into the Kingdom. For, although it was Paul who was in the eminent sense the apostle to the uncircumcision, yet it was not Paul, but Peter the apostle to the circumcision, who was, practically speaking, the

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first to open the doors of the Kingdom of God to Gentiles. Peter’s welcome of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, marked such an important epoch in the evolution of the primitive church that the story of it is told with particularity of details and even repetitions (see Acts 10:148; 11:1-18). To us it may seem but a commonplace incident. But to those primitive Jewish Christians, heirs to an exclusive Hebrew religion a millennium and a half old, Peter’s baptism of the Roman centurion at Caesarea marked a tremendous step onward in the development of the church as an organization. It was the beginning of the breaking down of the stupendous middle wall of the partition which had hitherto separated Jew and non-Jew. But while it was Peter who began the demolition, it was Paul who finished it. Yet throughout the minute narrative of the conversion of Cornelius the word “church” does not occur. The Church in Antioch. And now we come to the story of the church in Antioch. Next to Jerusalem, Antioch is perhaps the most interesting city mentioned in the New Testament. Four things make it especially interesting to the sons of the Kingdom. First Gentile Church. First, Antioch was the birthplace of the first Gentile church: Now they who were dispersed by reason of the distress that arose about Stephen, went on as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one but Jews only. But some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, having come to Antioch, spoke to the Greeks also, publishing the good news of the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number that believed turned to the Lord.

But the report concerning them came to the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas as far as

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Antioch. Who having come, and seen the grace of God, rejoiced; and he exhorted all, that with purpose of heart they should cleave to the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great multitude was added to the Lord. And he departed to Tarsus, to seek for Saul; and having found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they came together in the church, and taught a great multitude (Acts 11:19-26). The Name “Christians.” Secondly, Antioch was the birthplace of the name “Christians”: And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Who gave the followers of the new King this name, “Christians?” Was it the followers of Jesus themselves? Hardly; they were wont to speak of themselves as “believers, brethren, disciples, followers, those of the Way,” etc. Was it the Jews? Hardly; for this word “Christian” meant “Anointed,” and was equivalent to the Hebrew word “Messiah”; accordingly, for Jews to call the followers of Jesus “Christians” was to admit virtually that they were followers of the Messiah; no Jew would admit that; the Jewish epithet for this new sect was “Galileans, Nazarene, Heretics.” Was it the heathen of Antioch? Probably; they knew little, and cared less, about this foreigner called Jesus; but they noticed that his followers were forever using this word “Christ” in their talk; and so they called these foreigners “Christians.” Antioch was a heathen city; and it was in Antioch, some ten years after the Ascension, that the disciples were first called “Christians,” or followers of one “Christ.” What a pity it is that the followers of Christ ever had any other name!

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First Christian Relief Fund. Thirdly, Antioch was the birthplace of organized Christian charity: And in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified through the Spirit that there should be a great famine over all the inhabited earth; which came to pass in the days of Claudius. And the disciples, according as any one was prospered, determined each of them to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judaea. Which also they did, sending it to the elders through the hands of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:27-30). This narrative is deeply interesting for several reasons. First, it is the first recorded instance of organizing a Christian Relief Fund. Secondly, this Christian Relief Fund was started by converted Gentiles to help converted Jews; serving, so to speak, as the first practical bridge between Heathendom and Hebrewdom. Thirdly, it is the first mention of “elder” or “presbyters” as a Christian term. Fourthly, this Christian Relief Fund afterward proved to be the occasion of Paul’s frequent appeals to Gentile churches for contributions in behalf of the poor saints dwelling in Judaea, and his frequent visits to Jerusalem as the chief collector and almoner of the Fund. For example, he writes to the church in Corinth thus: Concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. On the first day of the week, let each one of you lay by him in store, according as he is prospered, that there may be no collections made when I come. And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them I will send with letters to carry your benefaction to Jerusalem. And if it be worth while for me also to go, they shall go with me (1 Corinthians 16:1-4. See also Acts 24:17;

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Romans 15:25-28; 2 Corinthians 8:1-24; 9:1-15; Galatians 2:10; etc.). Birth of Foreign Missions. Fourthly, Antioch was the birthplace of Foreign Missions: Now there were in Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers; Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius the Cyrenean, and Manaen the foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch, and sad. And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them. Then, having fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away (Acts 13:1-3). It was a turning-point in human history, for it was the birth of the sense of universal brotherhood. Marathon, Actium, Waterloo, Gettysburg are great names; but they pale before the name of Antioch in Syria; for here it was that the Missionary Enterprise was inaugurated. Not that there never had been any missionary efforts; the Jews, from the time of John Hyrcanus, had been zealous missionaries; but it was in behalf of Judaism; indeed, it was this fiery propagandism of the Jew that drew from our King one of His fiercest denunciations: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he has become so, ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves (Matthew 23:15). Not that this summons of the Holy Spirit in Antioch was the first proclamation of Christian Missions; twelve years before, our risen King, in His manifestation on the Galilean mountain, had proclaimed

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His royal Missionary Commission. Not that the disciples had never offered the gospel to the Gentiles; Peter had gone from Joppa to Caesarea to announce the glad tidings to Roman Cornelius, and Christians of Cyprus and Cyrene had gone to this same Antioch, publishing the good news of the Lord Jesus to the Greeks or Hellenistic Jews. But these missionary movements had been informal and desultory. It was in Antioch of Syria, about the year 45, that the first Foreign Missionary Society was organized. Henceforth evangelic propagandism was the policy of the Christian church. Narrowness of the Ancient Jews. To us, living amid the broad thoughts and giant movements of this closing year of the nineteenth century, that ancient sending forth of Barnabas and Saul may not seem especially remarkable. But to the infant church in Antioch it was something colossal. It is almost impossible for us to bedwarf ourselves far enough backward to understand the narrow spirit of those pygmy days. Recall the intense, almost unparalleled exclusiveness of the ancient Jew. The only horizon he knew was the horizon which bounded his own tiny Palestine. To this intense and bitter exclusivism his own religion, although divinely given, powerfully contributed. Abram had been summoned from Ur of the Chaldees, to become the founder of a distinct, isolated nationality; for salvation was to be from the Jews; that is to say, the promised Saviour was to come of Jewish stock. But the Jew perverted the meaning of his great vocation. Proud in the consciousness that to his race belonged the adoption, and the Shechinah, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the liturgy, and the promises, and the fathers, and the coming Messiah,—the Jew failed to see that the reason why his nation had been thus specialized and isolated was that this particularization might become the avenue of a universal salvation. True, many an Old Testament prophecy had been distinctly missionary. But it had been expressed in Jewish phraseology, representing the

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Gentiles as coming to the Palestinian Zion. And because the phraseology was Jewish, the Jew construed the missionary prophecies Jewishly. He had no idea that any Gentile could be saved, unless he disowned his nationality, and inserted himself into the Hebrew stock, by submitting to the Abrahamic rite of circumcision. Hence the reluctance of Jonah to visit Nineveh, and his anger at the repentance of that heathen city. Here was the secret of the rejection of Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth; His townsmen listened to Him with delight, until he reminded them that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when there came a great famine over all the land, and yet to no widow was he sent, except to one in Gentile Zarephath; and there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, and yet no one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman, the Gentile Syrian; and when they heard these things, they were all filled with wrath, and rose up, and cast Him forth out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill, to throw Him down headlong. What though Peter was one of the King’s favorite three, and had been invested with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven? It was needful that he should behold the vision of the descending great sheet, before he was willing to open the Kingdom of Heaven to Gentile Cornelius. The first ecclesiastical conference or convention of which we have a record was that which met in Jerusalem, about the year 50, to consider the question whether it was possible for a Gentile to be saved without being circumcised; that is, without becoming a Jew. Even after that council had decided that circumcision was no longer necessary, Peter himself, although he had participated in the congress and emphatically put himself on the catholic side of the record, disowned in Antioch that record, separating himself from the converted Gentiles, refusing to eat with them; so that Paul was compelled to withstand him to the face, and openly rebuke him before the church. When Paul addressed the mob in Jerusalem, from the

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staircase of the tower of Antonia, they listened to him quietly, until he recited the King’s words to him in the temple,—“Depart, for I will send thee far hence to the Gentiles”; then the mob tossed their garments about, and threw dust into the air, and shouted, “Away with such a one from the earth! for it is not fit that he should live.” In fact, it was the Jewish party which was Paul’s chief persecutor to the bitter end; and the secret of their persecution was his maintenance of the doctrine that under the new covenant Gentiles and Jews were on an equality before God. Catholicity of Paul. When therefore the apostle Paul, in obedience to the commission of Antioch, was set apart to the work of foreign missions, he inaugurated a movement which was not only absolutely novel but also intensely brave. Even now, in these days when our missionaries have the advantages of steamships and telegraphs, and, above all, the endorsement of Christendom for their work, it is justly thought a heroic thing to become a foreign missionary. But how much more heroic it was in those days of an infantile Christianity and a pygmy sense of brotherhood, especially when the mere fact of recognizing the equality of Gentiles with Jews seemed to subvert the foundations of a divine and exclusive religion already two millenniums old. In fact, the mission of Paul was a reversal of the mission of Abraham. Great was Abraham’s call; but it was a call to become the founder of a single nationality and a local religion. Greater was Paul’s call; for it was a call to become the founder of a universal brotherhood and a cosmopolitan religion. He himself was the first conspicuous illustration of the parable of the good Samaritan. According to our King, neighborhood does not consist in local nearness; it is not a matter of ward, or city, or state, or nation, or kinship, or guild, or political party, or religious denomination; neighborhood means a glad readiness to relieve distress wherever found. According to human teachers, it was the Jewish priest and

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Jewish Levite who were neighbors of the Jewish traveller to Jericho. According to the divine Teacher, it was the Samaritan foreigner who was the real neighbor of the waylaid Jew. That is to say, every human being who is in distress, and whom I can practically help, whether he lives in Philadelphia or in Manila, is my neighbor. In brief, opportunity is the only practical limit of neighborhood. And of this doctrine of neighborhood or sense of universal brotherhood Paul, I repeat, was the first superb human illustration. Being the King’s chosen vessel, to convey, as in an elect vase, His name before Gentiles, he glorified His ministry, feeling himself a debtor to every human being, whether elegant Athenian or barbarous Scythian. And he illustrated the King’s doctrine of neighborhood, because he had caught the King’s own spirit. For the Son of God Himself was mankind’s great, typical Neighbor; time’s great foreign Missionary, commissioned by the eternal Father to go down to our far-off alien race, that He might bind up the wounds of our waylaid and bleeding humanity, and convey it to the inn of His own redeeming grace. Accordingly, the moment the Son of man bowed His head and gave back His spirit to his Father, the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, thus signifying that henceforth the way into the true Holy of holies was open to all alike; to Roman Clement as well as to Hebrew Peter; to Greek Athanasius as well as to Hebrew John; to Karen Kothabyoo as well as to Hebrew Paul For Christ Jesus is our peace, making both Jew and non-Jew one, breaking down the middle of the partition which parted them, blending the two into one new man in Himself, reconciling both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; so bringing good news of peace to Gentiles who were far off and to Jews who were nigh; for through Him both Jews and non-Jews have access in one Spirit to the Father. And St. Paul was mastered by the divine Peacemaker’s spirit. As the Father had sent the Son into the world, even so did the Son

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send Paul into the world. Nobly conscious of this divine mission, he recognized in every human being, however distant or degraded, a personal neighbor and brother. And so he won for himself the glorious title, “The Apostle to the Gentiles.” And for this sublime vocation he had been in an eminent sense very especially fitted. By birth a Jew, he was familiar with the living oracles. By citizenship a Roman, he was allowed a freedom throughout the imperial dominions which would have been denied him as simply a Jew. By culture a Grecian, he had the ear of the nations; for Greek was the cosmopolitan tongue. And so he went forth into all the world of the vast Roman Empire, preaching, it might be said almost literally, the gospel to every creature. And in thus proclaiming everywhere the glad tidings of one common Saviour, in whom is neither Jew nor Gentile, Paul became the first asserter of the characteristic and glorious doctrine of modern times,—Human Brotherhood. In the matter of the “solidarity of the nations,” Paul the apostle towers over every other earthly hero: Becoming, when the time had birth, A lever to uplift the earth, And roll it in another course. —In Memoriam St. Paul is thus the great watershed of mankind; on that side of him all tended to narrowness and hate; on this side of him all tends to breadth and love. With Paul the missionary begins the true comity of nations, the first convocation of The Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World. —LOCKSLEY HALL

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Passing over the account of the first missionary tour of Barnabas and Saul (in the course of which the name of Saul was exchanged for the name of Paul), we come to the story of the great Christian Conference held in Jerusalem about the year 50. As this was one of the epoch-marking events in the unfolding of the primitive church, we must give it special study. The Christian Conference in Jerusalem. The church in Antioch was, as we have seen, largely made up of Gentile converts. Not being Jews, these converts had not been required to submit to the Jewish rite of circumcision. But ritual questions, from the first century to the close of this nineteenth, have been the chief theme of ecclesiastical disputes. Certain members of the mother church in Jerusalem felt their responsibility in this matter of ritual so deeply that they took the pains to go down to Antioch, to regulate the young brotherhood there, saying, “Unless you Gentiles submit to the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham by being circumcised, you cannot be saved.” Doubtless they were perfectly sincere in this. Jehovah, God of their fathers, had solemnly prescribed circumcision as the sign of the Hebrew nationality. The new King, himself observant of other rites of Mosaism, had not repealed this ancient divine ordinance. No wonder then that, when these conservative ritualists from the mother church in Jerusalem arrived in Antioch, they stirred up a great discussion and even alienation. Vain was it that Paul and Barnabas, themselves freed from the shackles of Judaism, argued and expostulated with these “conscientious” Judaizers. The debate still went on. Finally it was thought advisable to send delegates to Jerusalem, to confer with the mother church about this question. Accordingly, Paul, Barnabas, Titus, and some others were commissioned as delegates. It was a distance of three hundred miles. So momentous was the question before the coming Conference that some representatives of the church in Antioch escorted the commissioners at least part of the way. Arrived

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at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders (note the three titles or specifications, “church, apostles, presbyters”). Having received a mother’s welcome, they reported, apparently at some preliminary meeting, how great things God had wrought through them in the matter of the Gentiles. But the ritualists would not be convinced. Some of them had belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, and, naturally maintaining their heritage of Pharisaic ceremonialism, insisted on pressing their point, declaring, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.” The Discussion. Accordingly, the apostles and the presbyters came together to see about this matter. It was not, strictly speaking, an ecclesiastical council or convention; it was rather a Christian conference or consultation. It was doubtless an exciting debate. As is usual on such occasions, the small orators seem to have been the first to take the floor. After much discussion, Peter the Rock arose (how breathless now the attention!), and said to them (the address is probably but an abstract): Speech of Peter. Brethren, ye yourselves know that from early days God made choice among us, that through my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart bore them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as to us; and made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do ye tempt God, putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our father nor we were able to bear? But, through the grace of the Lord Jesus, we believe that we shall be saved, in the same manner as they also (Acts 15:7-11).

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It is Peter’s last appearance in the book of Acts, and nobly does he acquit himself. His argument is that most resistless of arguments—the argument from personal experience. No wonder all the multitude became silent. Story of Barnabas and Paul. And now two men rose to speak, to whom the entire Conference gave profound attention. They were Barnabas, the celebrated son of exhortation, and Paul, the still more celebrated apostle to the Gentiles. They were fresh from their great missionary tour among the uncircumcised Gentiles, and narrated the wonderful success which God had given them in proclaiming the good news to the people of heathen countries: thus adding their own missionary confirmation to the personal testimony of Peter, the leader of the original Twelve. Speech of James. And now rose to speak one who in some respects was more distinguished than Paul and even Peter; it was James the Lord’s brother, pastor or bishop of the church in Jerusalem, surnamed “The Just.” It was a fine instance of parliamentary strategy; first, obscures: then Peter the Rock; then Paul the master apostle; then James, pastor-bishop of the mother church and brother of the King. Paraphrasing his address, his argument is substantially as follows— Acts 15: “Brethren, our comrade Peter has spoken of his receiving the Gentile Cornelius into the Christian community. In thus opening the kingdom of heaven to the uncircumcised, he but fulfilled many an ancient prophecy; notably the prediction of the prophet Amos, who, under the figure of Jehovah’s rebuilding of David’s fallen tabernacle, foretold the admission of the Gentiles into the Christian church. My opinion then is that we ought not to vex our Gentile friends with needless ceremonies and regulations. Let us try to conciliate our brethren of both parties. dike the

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advocates of progress and the advocates of conservatism; for even in Gentile lands the law of Moses, as in the generations gone by, is still preached, being read in the synagogues of every city every sabbath. Let us write a circular letter to the Gentile churches, asking them to abstain, not only from heathen vices, such as fornication, but also from food offered to idols, and from what has been strangled, and from blood—practices which devout Jews regard as heinous as fornication. The Circular Letter. This counsel of the King’s brother was so judicious that the entire assembly, including the apostles and the presbyters and the whole church, promptly accepted it, and chose a formal deputation, consisting of such eminent brethren as Paul, Barnabas, Judas called Barsabas, and Silas, to proceed to Antioch, and bear the following encyclical: The apostles and the elders and the brethren, to the brethren from the Gentiles throughout Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting: Forasmuch as we have heard, that some who went out from us troubled you with words, subverting your souls, to whom we gave no charge; it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to choose men and send them to you, with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also by word of mouth carry you the same message. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no further burden except these necessary things; that ye abstain from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell (Acts 15:23-29).

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Effect of the Encyclical. The deputation, having been duly dismissed by the Conference, proceeded to Antioch, where, having summoned the entire church, they delivered the document, which was received with joy, the church being strengthened in the faith. Such is the story of the first general Ecclesiastical Conference of Christendom, held in the city of Jerusalem, about 50 A.D. Reviewing the story, let us note: The Real Question before the Conference. First, what the real question before the Conference was. The question was nothing less than this, Shall Mosaism be the stock root of the church, and Christianity only a graft; or vice versa? Shall the spirit yield to the letter, or the letter to the spirit? Which shall prevail—a principle, or an ordinance? the essential, or an incidental? As we have seen, much could be said on both sides. On the one hand, circumcision was a divine ordinance, some two thousand years old, the sign of Jehovah’s covenant with Israel, the seal of revealed religion; the new King had not repealed this ancient ordinance; to surrender it was to surrender all the past; etc. On the other hand, the new Kingdom was a kingdom of life and spirit; it was spreading among the Gentiles; the Holy Spirit was falling upon non-Jews as well as upon Jews: why should a Greek, a Roman, a Scythian, disown his nationality and swear allegiance to a foreign stock? Is it not one of the essential marks of Christianity that it is a life rather than a form? Thus the question before the Conference in Jerusalem was really a momentous problem, threatening to divide Christendom in its very beginning. The Real Decision of the Conference. Secondly, observe what the real decision of the Jerusalem Conference was. On the one hand, it was adverse to the Ritualists. When we remember that this Conference was held, not in Antioch or any other Gentile city, but in Jerusalem itself—the very headquarters of Mosaic ritualism—and

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that the immense majority of the Convention, including the apostles themselves, were intense Jews, the decision of the Conference was a stupendous step onward. It was almost as though the Episcopal Church, in some General Convention, should decide to give up the Prayer-book; or the Presbyterian Church, in some General Assembly, to surrender the Westminster Catechism; or the Methodist Church, in some General Conference, to dispense with the Book of Discipline; or the Baptist Church, in some extraordinarily summoned Congress of denominational legislation, to abandon immersion as a prerequisite to Communion. On the other hand, while the decision of the Conference was in its spirit adverse to the Ritualists, yet the decision was in its form conciliatory. It is as though they had said: “We Jews impose on you non-Jews no Mosaic burdens; all we ask from you non-Jews is to abstain from those heathen vices of which fornication is an example, and to have regard to our Jewish scruples by abstaining from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled.� An Instructive Side-light. Before leaving this account of the Conference in Jerusalem, let us glance at an instructive side-light given by the apostle Paul in his letter I to the Galatians. He is vindicating his apostolic call, authority, independence. He declares that he had received the gospel, not indirectly from man, but directly through Jesus Christ, having been taught by him in Arabia; that he did not go up to Jerusalem till three years after his conversion; that he remained there only fifteen days, during which time he saw none of the apostles except Peter and James the brother of the Lord. And then he proceeds as follows: Then, after fourteen years [from his conversion], I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking also Titus with me.

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And 1went up according to a revelation, and laid before them the gospel which 1 preach among the Gentiles; but privately, before those of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised; and that because of the false brethren stealthily brought in, who crept in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage; to whom not even for an hour did we yield by the [required] subjection, that the truth of the gospel might abide with you. But from those reputed to be somewhat,—whatever they were, it matters not to me, God accepts not man’s person,— to me I say those of repute imparted nothing. But, on the contrary, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, as Peter was with that of the circumcision; (for he who wrought for Peter in respect to the apostleship of the circumcision, wrought for me also in respect to the Gentiles;) and having learned the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas right hands of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision; only, that we should remember the poor, which very thing I was also zealous to do (Galatians 2:1-10). This account of the Conference in Jerusalem given by the apostle Paul, although different in several particulars from the account given by the evangelist Luke in the fifteenth of Acts, is not inconsistent with it; on the other hand, it is complemental to it. We learn from it certain interesting details which are not mentioned in the book of Acts. For example; we learn, first, that when Paul went up from Antioch to attend the Jerusalem Conference he took with him Titus, one of his missionary comrades. We learn, secondly, that, although Paul went up as one of the delegates sent by the brethren in Antioch, yet he also

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went up according to a divine revelation; thus showing that one may receive two commissions to do the same thing—the one human, the other divine. We learn, thirdly, that St. Paul sought and obtained a private interview with influential persons before engaging in the public conference; thus proving that he was a Christian master of parliamentary strategy, blending the wariness of serpents with the simplicity of doves. We learn, fourthly, that an enormous pressure was brought to bear on Paul by the Judaic party to compel his Gentile friend Titus to be circumcised. We learn, fifthly, that Paul chivalrously, persistently, successfully, resisted this pressure on the ground that to yield to this demand of persons whom he indignantly calls false brethren, stealthily creeping in to spy out the freedom which is in Christ, was to imperil the liberty of Gentile Christians; thus showing how the same man can be soft as a zephyr to the weak, and firm as a boulder to the false. We learn, sixthly, Paul’s sensitive dignity; although conscious of the lateness of his apostolic call, as the one born out of due time, yet he places himself on an equality with the original Twelve, declaring that, renowned as some of them were, they had told him nothing new; the only suggestion they offered him being to remember the poor saints in Jerusalem—a suggestion which he himself had anticipated and for years had been practically carrying out. We learn, seventhly, a lesson of magnanimous equity; when James, Peter, John, the three most celebrated of the apostles, learned that God had blessed the foreign labors of Barnabas and Paul as signally as their own domestic labors, they cheerfully recognized the economic principle of the division of labor, heartily giving to Paul and Barnabas right hands of fellowship in prosecuting the work of foreign missions. Abiding Lesson of the Jerusalem Conference. Take it all in all, the Christian Conference in Jerusalem was the model of an “Ecclesiastical Council.” Observe what the real abiding lesson is for ourselves: Let the

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church of today cultivate the spirit of love; not merely the spirit of tolerance, but also the spirit of unity. While in the realm of principle we must remain as firm as God’s own law, in the realm of method we must be as yielding as God’s own air. We must not impose on one another burdens which are nonessential or ambiguous; such as rites, creeds, tests. Let us pursue the things which make for peace, and things by which one may build up another. A Swift Panorama. But we mast hasten our steps. Enough that we simply recall, as we pass onward, the sharp contention between Barnabas and Paul in the matter of John Mark; the circumcision of Timothy on account of his Jewish neighbors; Paul’s vision of the Macedonian phantom; his embarkation for Europe; the conversion and baptism of Lydia and the Philippian jailer; Paul’s missionary visits at Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, in which latter place he worked at his old trade of tentmaking; the special tuition of a learned Alexandrine Jew named Apollos; Paul’s protracted stay in Ephesus, where he found the twelve disciples of John the forerunner, and baptized them into the name of the Lord Jesus; his signal success in Ephesus; his Sunday communion with the disciples in Troas; his farewell address to the presbytery of the church in Ephesus; his vow of purification in Jerusalem; his brave defence of himself and his King before the mob in Jerusalem, before the Sanhedrin, before Felix, before Agrippa; his appeal to Caesar, his arrival at Rome, where he remained two whole years, preaching the kingdom of God. Thus ends the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Infrequency of the Term “Church” in the Acts. Yet in all this inspired history of the primitive, “apostolic church,” containing twenty-eight chapters, one thousand and eight verses, and covering a period of some thirty years, the word “church” as a Christian organization occurs but nineteen times, or only once in every fifty-six verses. It is a

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very significant hint, at least to thoughtful readers; for it shows how slight was the importance which the inspired chronicler attached to the “church” considered as an ecclesiastical organization. What church historian in our time—whether Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic—could write a history of the origin and growth of his own church for thirty years, yet mention the word “church” but nineteen times? General Survey of the Primitive Church. Before leaving this branch of our general subject, it will be proper to say something about the character, gifts, and customs of the primitive church. Not that we have such precise information about them as we might desire. But there are certain things which we do know sufficiently well. Let us confine ourselves strictly to the apostolic period, not entering postapostolic history. The Primitive Church a Mixed Community. We know, for example, that the primitive church consisted of mixed characters. Our King Himself foreshadowed this in His own parables of the Wheat and Tares, and the Net. As in the church of today, so in the church of the apostolic period, there was an intermixture of virtue and vice, truthfulness and falsehood, generosity and covetousness, nobleness and meanness, meekness and pride, courage and cowardice, faith and doubt, sincerity and hypocrisy, temples of God and synagogues of satan. But more of this anon. The Primitive Charisms. Again, we know something of the charisms or spiritual gifts to the primitive church. We know, for instance, that there were gifts of miracles, healings, helps, governings, discerning of spirits, various kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, etc.; these special gifts being, so to speak, the largesses showered on the primitive church by the ascending Conqueror:

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Having ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men (Ephesians 4:8). But although these special charisms of the apostolic period had been divinely bestowed, yet they tempted the primitive Christians into unseemly pride, selfishness, jealousy. For example, the gift of tongues, or the sudden ability to speak foreign languages, was thought to be more brilliant than the gift of prophecy, or the speaking under the Spirit’s special influence to the upbuilding of personal character. Accordingly, the apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthian Christians who prided themselves on this showy gift of tongues, says: He that speaks in a tongue builds up himself; but he that prophesies, builds up the church….I thank God, I speak with tongues more than ye all. But in church [assembly] I had rather speak five words through my understanding, that I may instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a [foreign] tongue (1 Corinthians 14:1-8). Indeed, this whole fourteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, preluded as it is by his immortal coronation of Love in his thirteenth chapter, is a splendid commentary on the altruistic use of personal gifts or talents. Immersion the Primitive Baptism. Again, we know that the primitive baptism meant immersion. This is the emphatic testimony of the authoritative scholars, for example, lexicographers, antiquarians, historians, exegetes. But more of this anon. Primitive Mode of observing the Lord’s Supper. Again, we know that the primitive church were in the habit of communing with their King in His memorial Supper; sometimes daily breaking bread as individuals at their homes (see Acts 2:46); sometimes as organized companies

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assembled on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7); sometimes, alas, debauching the Holy Supper into selfish orgies: When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not to eat a supper of the Lord; for in eating, each takes before others His own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What! have ye not houses [of your own] to eat and drink in? Or despise ye the church of God and put shame on those who have not? (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). But more of this anon. Officers of the Primitive Church. Again, we know something of the administration of the primitive church. We know, for instance, that there were apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, bishops, pastors, presbyters, deacons, etc. We know that the apostles had been the personal intimates and were the immediate representatives of the risen King; that the prophets spoke under the special influence of the Holy Spirit; that evangelists were proclaimers of the good tidings; that “elder” or “presbyter” was the Jewish term and “bishop” was the Greek term for what we call a “minister” or “clergyman”; that “pastors” were Christian shepherds; that “deacons” were Christian assistants, almoners, etc. But more of this anon. The Primitive Theology. Once more, we know that the theology of the primitive church was apostolic, and therefore personal rather than ecclesiastical. For systematic or scientific theology is the slow growth of prolonged and elaborate thinking. The apostles had no time for this systematic elaboration of their thoughts; and therefore their theology, however true in itself, was personal rather than philosophical, answering to the individual idiosyncrasies or temperaments of each separate apostle. Accordingly, it is right to use such expressions as the Pauline theology, the Petrine theology, the Johannine theology, etc.

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Our Knowledge of the Primitive Church largely Inferential. But while we know such things as these, we are ignorant of other things which we would like to know. For example; we do not know whether the primitive church polity was Congregational, Episcopal, Presbyterian, or simply Apostolic. Even if we knew that the primitive polity was apostolic, we do not know how far it was divinely authoritative. Of course, the apostles were “inspired.” But even inspired apostles were not perfect. Recall the paroxysm of anger between Barnabas and Paul in the matter of John Mark, and the consequent dissolution of their missionary partnership. What though Peter the Rock had been divinely invested with the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Long years after this divine investiture, the apostle Paul felt obliged to withstand this same Peter the Rock to the face, and rebuke him for his apostasy in refusing to continue his communion with uncircumcised Christians. Even St. Paul himself seems to have modified his own opinions in respect to our King’s return, as indicated in his earlier letters and in his later. Inspiration is by no means omniscience. And if this was true of the apostles, how much truer it was of the laity. The truth is, what we know about the primitive church as an organized society is mainly inferential. Different minds will of course draw different inferences according to their different environments, trainings, temperaments, etc.; witness the immense varieties of creeds and polities alleged to be based on the same Scriptures, ranging all the way between the elaborate churchism of the Romanists to the simple “meetings” of the Quakers. It becomes us then in quoting Scriptures bearing on these ecclesiastical matters to quote cautiously, modestly, charitably. The Primitive Church not our Ecclesiastical Model. But even though we had an elaborate record of the evolution of the primitive church as an ecclesiastical organization, it by no means follows that this primitive organization is binding on us today as our ecclesiastical model.

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Let us never forget that the apostolic period was wholly exceptional alike in its nature, in its endowments, and in its personalities; and it is manifestly absurd to undertake to I deduce a canon or law from an exception. Besides, the primitive church was, as a matter of historic fact, full of imperfections. True, we are accustomed to dream of the primitive church as a happy company of beautiful saints, whose every act is our law; and so we love to talk of what we call “the Apostolic Church,” “the New Testament Church,” “the duty of returning to the New Testament Model of a Christian Church,” and so forth. We forget that the primitive church was, as a matter of fact, made up of two classes of persons utterly unpromising and antithetic :on the one hand, converted Jews, brought up under the iron yoke of pharisaic rabbinism; and, on the other hand, converted Gentiles, brought up under the equally iron yoke of pagan vices. Indeed, most of the Epistles were written for the express purpose of warning the early churches against theological heresies and practical immoralities. Recall, for instance, the doctrinal heresies of the church in Rome; the open immoralities of the church in Corinth; the theological apostasies of the churches in Galatia; the backslidings and slumberings and falsehoods of the church in Ephesus; the enemies of the cross of Christ in the church in Philippi; the false asceticism and angel worship practised by the church in Colosse; the disorderly idlers in the church in Thessalonica; the false teachers and tattlers and busybodies in Timothy’s parish; the foolish casuists and genealogical wranglers in the diocese of Titus; the slaveholder in the church in the house of Philemon; the stunted babes in the church of the Hebrews; the hollow ritualists and selfish fashionables whom James lashed so pitilessly; the libertines and rioters whom Peter scorched so mercilessly; the many antichrists who had already risen in the church of St. John’s own day; the drunken revellers at the Christian love-feasts whom Jude

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denounced so fiercely; the apostates and Balaamites and Jezebelseducers in the apocalyptic churches. Beware then of apotheosizing the primitive church even though it was founded and administered by apostles. The Flowery Kingdom is not the only country where people are given to the worship of ancestors. In fact, perfect moral beginnings are against all analogies of living nature; all lessons of human history. First embryo, then development, then maturity. The spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46). Our King Himself foretold that the wheat and the tares would grow together until the harvest. Accordingly, the day of Pentecost had hardly ended when Ananias and Sapphira entered into their awful agreement to lie to the Holy Spirit. What though Simon of Samaria was a “believer” and had been duly baptized? He thought he could acquire the gift of God with money, and so he undertook to bribe apostles. The very charisms or spiritual gifts of the apostolic period proved to be occasions of the most unseemly wranglings in the primitive church. To go back, then, to “The New Testament Church” as our model of church life is to slide back into the absurdest of moral retrogrades. Only one church is our perfect model; it is the ideal Church of the First-born, whose names are enrolled in heaven. But of this I am to speak later on. Organized Churches a Necessity. Meanwhile observe that, although we may not look back to the “apostolic church” as our perfect ecclesiastical model, yet ecclesiastical organizations of some kind or other are indispensable, and will continue indispensable at least while the present on lasts. Theorize as we may, the spirit cannot live in this world without the machinery of the body. Theorize as we may, the church, as the spiritual body of Christ, cannot carry on its divine

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functions without the machinery of human churches as ecclesiastical organizations. Accordingly, the great practical question of today is this, How shall we organize our churches? What shall be our ecclesiastical model? And so we come to the second part of our subject; The Church as a Modern Problem.

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PART SECOND

THE CHURCH AS A MODERN PROBLEM

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CHAPTER I

MISSION OF THE CHURCH

T will help to clarify our problem of church organization if we at the outset understand distinctly the mission of the church as an ecclesiastical organization. When we conceive clearly what the church ought to do, then we shall conceive clearly how the church ought to do it.

I

Mission of the Church. What, then, is the mission of the church? It is a pertinent question to ask. Here is a colossal institution; an institution colossal in time, in space, in numbers, in wealth, in rank, in power, in scholarship, in resources of every kind. What, then, is the mission of this colossal institution? Let me answer first negatively. It is not the mission of the church to enjoy herself. She is neither a dormitory, nor a junto, nor a library, nor a museum, nor an obelisk, nor a bureau, a treadmill, or a wailing-place. Let me now answer affirmatively. It is the mission of the church to serve God by serving man. The church is a workshop, a teacher, a reformer, a peacemaker, an upbuilder; in brief, the church is God’s agent in administering His kingdom on earth. Success of the Church. And the church is fulfilling in some measure her great mission. I am no pessimist. The Kingdom of God is not a failure. The church has been, still is, ever will be (till her King’s

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return), the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the pillar and ground of the truth. Say what you will, the church is time’s most beneficent institution. She is carrying on more or less largely her King’s beneficent ministry, and never so largely as today. Behold, for example, what are called her “Institutional Churches”; thank God, they are multiplying all over Christendom. In fact, what is Christian history (history that is truly Christian) but a history of Christian charities? Who first illustrated the community of goods? Who organized the first diaconate? Who started the Antioch relief fund? Who instituted the mediaeval charity orders? Who are at the head of modem charities? Who are the practical friends of the abandoned, the criminal, the dirty, the feeble-minded, the incurable, the lost? In brief, who is transfiguring mankind? The Church is time’s great Eleemosynary Institution. Hers is the finger, often unnoticed, which is touching the springs whence arise our varied organizations of secular beneficence; our asylums, hospitals, refuges, reformatories, wayfarers’ lodges, etc. Show me, if you can, Plato’s Asylum for the Orphaned; Caesar’s Hospital for the Wounded; Voltaire’s Infirmary for the Feeble-minded: Paine’s Retreat for the Homeless; Ingersoll’s Home for the Incurable. Thus, if I may say so, Christianity reverses Darwinism, selecting the unfittest for survival. Walk then about the Zion of the living God; tell the towers of her successes; mark well the bulwarks of her charities; consider the palaces of her heroes; that ye may tell it to the generations following. Failure of the Church. Nevertheless, the church, compared with her mission and resources, is a tragic failure. The world’s population is, say, 1,200,000,000. Of these, say, 387,000,000 are Christian (Greeks, Latins, Protestants, etc.); and 813,000,000 are non-Christian (Brahmans, Moslems, Buddhists, etc.). Nearly two thousand years have elapsed since our King was born. Yet the church has gained

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hardly thirty per cent. Even of these a large proportion are still virtually heathen; look at our non-church-goers, “slums,” etc. Cause of the Church’s Failure. What then is the reason of the church’s dismal failure? It is not because her resources are meagre; on the one hand, she has all resources of human wealth, learning, philosophy, etc.; on the other hand, she has all resources of divine promises, inspiration, omnipotence, etc. Why, then, has the church thus failed? It is because she has misconceived her own mission. She has misappropriated her resources, substituting her own methods for the divine. For example, she has substituted churchianity for Christianity; bylaws for constitution; machinery for spirituality; competition for cooperation; gardening for farming; refectory for reformatory; knowledge for wisdom; prejudgment for docility; resolutions for enterprises; rubric for service; symbols for essence; sects for unity; egoism for mankind; in short, herself for her Master. All which sad failure Chebar’s prophet foreshadowed in his vision of the valley of dry bones. How shall the Church fulfil her Mission? How, then, shall the church fulfil her august mission? It is a grave, profound, solemn question. Of course, I can only give some hints, and in this chapter only hints of a general kind. By conceiving her Mission more clearly. The church will fulfil her mission, first, by conceiving that mission more distinctly. Her mission is to upbuild as well as to rescue; to restore God’s image in man; to realize the ideal man; to usher in God’s kingdom; in short, to crown the Nazarene. By readjusting her Methods. Again, the church will fulfil her mission by readjusting her methods. Let her beware of submitting herself to the heathen law of the Medes and Persians which changes not. The church is not an iron groove; the church is a living tree. Accordingly, each age of the Christian era has its own mission and method. For

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example, there was the primitive age of Missions; the Athanasian age of Theology; the mediaeval age of Scholasticism; the Lutheran age of Protestantism; the modem age of Science; we ourselves are living in the age of Christian service along “secular” or physical lines. Never let us forget our King’s parable of the Wine-skins. It is both grotesque and uncomfortable to wear furs in summer and gossamers in winter. Listen to the dying Arthur: The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. —TENNYSON’S Morte d’ Arthur We must, for example, substitute today for yesterday; adjustment for tradition; witnessing for speculating; rallying for scattering; ministering for officering; enthusiasm for exactitude; hospitality for prejudgment; forestalling for improvising; good news for dogma; common sense for castle-building; buttressing for criticising; beneficence for benevolence; “Kingdom” for churchism; in short, Christ for church. Thus, instead of the scattered bones of the Babylonian valley, behold the compact, serried, invincible Macedonian phalanx: Anon they move In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood Of flutes and soft recorders. Paradise Lost By following Jesus as her Only Captain. Once more, the church will fulfil her mission by following Jesus as her only Captain. Personal loyalty to Him is the one essential test of the original Christianity. This unites the sects. Here is the main key to our problem—individual loyalty to

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Christ’s person, Christ’s words, Christ’s character, Christ’s example. What was that example? Comforting, feeding, healing, up-building, going about doing good, healing all that were oppressed by the devil. Christianity is nothing if not generously executive. The Forerunner’s Query and the Fulfiller’s Reply. Recall a significant scene in our King’s life. His forerunner was in prison, and sent to Him two of his followers charged with the query: Art thou the Coming One, or are we to look for another? (Matthew 11:2). At the very hour John’s messengers arrived, Jesus was engaged, as was His wont, in acts of mercy. Accordingly, to John’s inquiry whether He was the expected Messiah, or was that Messiah yet to come? Jesus replied: Go, and report to John what ye hear and see; blind men receive sight, lame walk, lepers are cleansed, deaf hear, dead are raised, poor men have good tidings preached to them. Happy is he, whoever finds no occasion of stumbling in Me (Matthew 11:4-6; Luke 7:21-23). It is as though our King had said: “John asks from Me a reply in words; I give him My reply in works. Go, tell John what you see Me doing—healing the’ sick; comforting the sorrowing; helping the poor; casting out demons. These and such as these are the credentials of My Messiahship. Happy is the man who is not scandalized by Me, My mission, My methods!” And Jesus Christ is still receiving embassies of inquiry. From the prisons of persecution, sickness, bereavement, disappointment, failure,

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unrest, honest scepticism—there is ever coming the inquiry, “Art thou the promised Deliverer; or is He yet to come?” And Jesus Christ is still returning the same reply. His beneficent deeds are still His credentials. True, miracles have generally been regarded as His chief credentials. And so they were; not however because they were miracles, but because they were wrought to relieve human suffering. Theology, liturgy, worship—each is excellent; each in its own place is essential. But neither one of them, nor all of them together, can take the place of practical beneficence as the chief credential of Christianity. Let me go into some particulars. First of all, Christ’s answer to John’s inquiry must be taken literally. Beware of always construing our King’s words spirit-wise; as though He meant only the morally blind, deaf, lame, leprous. Despite our notions of the spiritual life as being ethereal, we do as a matter of fact live in material bodies. Beware then of a piety which is merely sentimental, evaporating itself away in emotional devotions which are as sterile as volatile. A monk (so the story goes) came to Abbot Sylvanus in the convent of Sinai, and found the brothers at work, and said: “Why labor ye for the meat that perisheth? Martha was cumbered with much serving; but Mary chose the good part.” The abbot said, “Give him a book to read, and put him in an empty cloister.” About the ninth hour the brother looked out to see if he would be called out to dinner, and at last came to the abbot, and said, Do not the brethren eat today?” “Yes,” said the good father. “Why, then,” asked the hungry saint, ‘‘was I not called?” Then quoth Abbot Sylvanus, “Thou art a spiritual man, and needest not our food; but we are carnal, and must eat, because we work; but thou hast chosen the better part.” Whereat the monk was ashamed.

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The Son of man was no Utopian. He knew that we must have food as well as truth. And therefore His Christianity did have its body side. Look at His miracles as well as at His teachings; in fact, His miracles were His teachings. Every one of them, except one, was a miracle of mercy. Can we hope to improve on our Master’s method? True, we cannot work Christ’s miracles. But we can have Christ’s spirit. We cannot heal miraculously, but we can provide hospitals for healing slowly; we can provide hospitals even for the incurable. We cannot miraculously multiply loaves and fishes; but we can deal our bread to the hungry, clothe the naked, house the shelterless, create employment for the unemployed. We cannot preach good tidings to the poor in Christ’s own matchless language; but we can interest the poor in Christ’s salvation by making our houses of worship and our services and church appliances attractive to the very humblest. In brief, we must meet the secularist half-way, or rather stand by his side, with one hand offering to the poor the gospel of work and with the other hand the gospel of grace. All this implies more or less change in our method of church administration; for example, more commodious architecture for church entertainments, gymnasiums, reading-rooms, schools for instruction in writing, arithmetic, keeping accounts, sewing, physiology, and the like. So long as the church fails to supply such things, our young men will go to clubs, saloons, etc. Nor is it enough that the church takes care of her own poor; she is something greater than a Masonic Lodge; she must follow her Master everywhere, whatever the creed, or nationality, or wickedness. The church must recognize more distinctly, and apply more practically, the two great complemental principles of diversity of gifts and division of labor. In short, the church must secularize Christianity in order to Christianize secularity. So shall she have the same mind which was in Christ Jesus. So shall she “reach the masses.”

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But I hear an objection: “Suppose the church should pursue a policy so openly secular, would she not encourage idleness, thriftlessness, loss of self-respect, imposture?” That, I reply, would largely depend on the common sense of the almoner who distributes her bounty. Of course, he ought to be a man of sagacity. Because a man is a philanthropist, it does not follow that he must be a fool. As for imposture, has not the Lord of the Kingdom given us His parable of the Wheat and the Tares? Are we to refuse sowing wheat because thistle seeds are in the air? Did Jesus cease cleansing lepers because, having on one occasion cleansed ten, nine of them ungratefully forgot Him? I have dwelt thus long on this answer of our King to his forerunner because this answer is momentous, many-sided, timely. For the church is still largely spending her brains, her pens, her lungs, on technical questions of church order, liturgy, historic episcopate, relation of baptism to communion, etc. Of course, creed has its place—a great place it is. But creed is out of place when it stands between me and a suffering man. Go, ye sticklers for ecclesiastical technicalities, and learn what the prophet Hosea means when he says, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; practical sympathy, and not mere ritual.” Here is the point where the world is watching the church. Here is the real touchstone of Christianity. What does it profit, my brethren, if any one say that he has faith, and have not works? Can the faith save him? If a brother or a sister be naked, and in lack of daily food, and one of you say to them, Go in peace, be warmed, and be filled, but ye give them not the things needful for the body, what does it profit? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead in itself (James 2:14-17). The time has come for us to listen to the apostle of justification by works as well as to the apostle of justification by faith. Not that James


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Mission of the Church

differs from Paul, except in the sense that the fruit differs from the root; the philosophic Paul saw in the root the fruit in embryo; the practical James saw in the fruit the root in evolution. So our King Himself had said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” And society recognizes the accuracy of the test. The church cannot deceive outsiders by professions. What churches have the strongest hold on the respect of outsiders? Not those who talk the most about their “experiences”; but those who, like our Saviour, go about doing good, and healing all that are oppressed by the devil. The Church of the Future is the Church of Action. The coming orthodoxy is the orthodoxy of faith working through love. And in thus continuing the Christ’s beneficent service the church is speaking a blessed parable. For what is the healing of bodies but a type of the healing of spirits? The spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. First bread, clothes, medicine, home for the poor in body; then bread, clothes, medicine, home for the poor in spirit. So Jesus did, and thus proved His Christhood; so we are to do, and thus prove that we are Christians. Happy the man who does not find in the secular ministry of Jesus an occasion of stumbling! This much in a general way.

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THE CHURCH THE KINGDOM BOOKS BY BOB MUMFORD AND JACK TAYLOR AGAPE ROAD AVAILABLE FROM DESTINY IMAGE PUBLISHERS COMPILED BY BOB MUMFORD AND J...